This week, I had ‘one-of-a-kind’ experience. I was one of the 500,000 spectators, who watched the Boston Marathon and cheered the 30,000 athletes. The passionate runners and the vibrant, encouraging spectators made it a unique experience.
Every year the Boston Marathon is held on Patriots Day, also called as the Marathon Monday. The Boston Marathon is organized by the Boston Athletic Association (B. A. A) and this year is the 121st year of Marathon. If you count backward, the first Boston Marathon happened in the year 1897 and makes it the world’s oldest annual marathon.
The marathon route is 26.2 miles (42.16 km) long and spans across multiple cities in Massachusetts. It starts at Hopkinton and ends in Boston (marathon map here). Entering the Boston Marathon is challenging. To qualify for the Boston Marathon, the athletes should meet the time standards which correspond to age and gender. For example, in the age group of 18-34, the athletes should have run a previous marathon within 3hrs 05min 00sec (for men) and 3hrs 35min 00sec (for women) and within 18 months (see more here).
The most challenging stretch of the Boston Marathon is the ‘Heartbreak Hill‘. The ‘Heartbreak Hill’ is a steep half-mile uphill on Mile 20-21. It is the last of the four hills that the runners encounter in Newton. It is named as the ‘Heartbreak Hill‘ because this is where the muscle glycogen reserves of the runners are mostly depleted and they ‘hit the wall’. This is also the stretch where you find a lot of people cheering for the athletes and encourage them to finish the last few miles. I was at this location and I loved the atmosphere.
Another notable feature of this year’s Boston Marathon is that Kathrine Switzer participated in it. She was the first woman to officially register and run in Boston Marathon in 1967. She ran when the marathon was a man’s race and women were considered to be too fragile to run it. Women were finally allowed to enter the race in 1972. She participated this year, after 50 years. She finished the marathon in 4:44:31 and her bib number is 261 (now and then). In her honor, her bib number will be retired from the Marathon.
In this year’s Marathon, Edna Kiplagat of Kenya was the winner in women’s category and completed in 02:21:52. In men’s race, Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya took the first place, winning with a time of 2:09:37.
This post is dedicated to all the athletes who participated in the Boston Marathon. I salute your perseverance, discipline, and courage.
Enjoy the pics and videos!
Quote for this post: The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon – Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder. __________________________________________________________________